Move over Fido, here comes Khaleesi
Jackson County doesn’t typically teem with celebrities, but Tyra Banks, Mike Tyson and Ozzie Osborne are wandering among us.
Tyra is a Parson Russell terrier; Mike is a boxer, and Ozzie is a shih tzu. They’re among the local cast of dogs with celebrity-, fiction- and food-inspired names who were licensed in Jackson County in the last 12 months, according to Jackson County Animal Control records.
From March 7, 2017, to March 6, 2018, the county issued 14,835 dog licenses and 39 cat licenses. The database, requested by the Mail Tribune, sheds light on the kinds of animals that are popular here, as well as what inspires us when naming them.
Nearly 15,000 records later, here’s what the data show.
The top-10 list of dog names leans toward the feminine. Bella was the most popular, with 226 licenses issued under that name. Daisy, Lucy, Molly and Sadie claimed the fourth through seventh spots, and Maggie took ninth.
Buddy, Max, Charlie and Toby rounded out the top 10.
Despite the popularity of traditional names, many local dog owners strayed far from the predictable with their choices. The list of licenses revealed affinities for everything from TV and movie characters to alcoholic beverages.
The HBO show “Game of Thrones” made a strong showing in the dog licenses, with eight canine Khaleesis of various breeds and spellings, a bichon frise named Jon Snow and one pit bull named Lannister.
Hennessey, Guinness, Kahlua and Tequila were among the assorted alcohol-inspired names registered.
Sticking with tradition, one dog was named Fido — Abraham Lincoln had a dog named Fido — and six dogs were named Spot.
Barbara Talbert, manager of Jackson County Animal Services, said the department doesn’t ask owners why they name their pets what they do, and it doesn’t set any restrictions on them, either.
“It’s basically their property,” she said. “They can do whatever they want.”
If a pet with a potentially offensive name is surrendered to a shelter, however, the staff will change it.
Cat names, on the whole, were mostly tamer than say, the Chihuahua licensed with the longest name: Shark Bait Hoo Ha Ha Caldwell. Only Cosmo and Kippur appeared twice among the list of feline names — all others were unique.
Dog licenses were much more numerous because they are mandatory after six months of age. Licenses, which are a critical source of funding for Animal Control, can be purchased on a one- to three-year basis, with higher fees for animals that are not spayed or neutered.
County officials said dogs should be licensed at all times. If an unlicensed dog comes in contact with an animal control officer or is impounded, the penalty is $75. Fees and penalties to bail out an unlicensed dog from the pound start at $180, according to Animal Control’s website.
Even so, licensing isn’t always a first thought for owners when they get a new furry friend. Conversations at the dog park, for example, yielded mixed results.
Matt Jordan, a Medford resident who is considering adopting a third dog, said while he has already contemplated names, he hadn’t yet thought about licensing.
“It didn’t really cross my mind,” he said, while taking his girlfriend’s white German shepherd Stanley to the dog park at Hawthorne Park. He said he thinks Stanley’s name was inspired by a grandfather.
Dan Johnson said he has extra incentive to license Grace, his border collie mix, as it’s a requirement in his neighborhood. The license also helps him remember to stay updated with rabies shots, he said — another county requirement.
Johnson said his wife usually decides their animals’ names — Grace kept hers from the shelter. In the past year, she was joined by 15 other dogs also dubbed Grace, three of which also are border collies.
Labrador retrievers were the most common breed, with 1,867 registered dogs. The next most-popular breeds were Chihuahuas (1,250) and pit bull terriers (750).